Lessons From a Two-Year Old

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Michael V. Davis

Once again, I have written some pretty hard stuff to swallow this past week, so I decided to write on this Saturday afternoon about something a lot more fun, life with a two-year old little boy.

I live in a small handicap apartment with my brother, his wife and their two-year old son Michael. The day he was born, almost two years ago, I cried and cried. I was so relieved that he was alive and well that I couldn’t stop my tears of joy for almost two hours. It was like a water fall had turned on and I wept without feeling in the least embarrassed. You see, Jimmy, his older brother, never got to draw a breath. He was stillborn only a few weeks before he was to be delivered. His mommy, daddy and myself suffered immensely from his tragic passing, and the disorder which had killed him had threatened to also kill Michael all through the pregnancy. The day he was scheduled to be delivered, I had to stay home and wait by the phone. I was received a text from my brother stating she would deliver any moment, and then I heard nothing for several hours. I was overwhelmed with anxiety, sure that something horrible had happened. I finally texted my sister-in-law’s mother begging for information and received a picture of Michael laying in his incubator healthy and crying.  On went the waterworks as I wept in both relief and joy.

When they brought that little bundle home, I was awed. He was so tiny and I instantly loved him. Trouble began for me soon after however, as I began to experience severe and intense flashbacks to my childhood brought on by his crying. I can’t explain how horrifying those flashbacks were, and I became very ill. I have a dissociative disorder, and I, to put it as succinctly as I can, lost the next ten months of my life.

When I returned, Michael was a whole lot bigger and already beginning to talk. Shortly after his first birthday, we decided to drive to Houston, Texas to visit some relatives and NASA. From here Houston is a two day drive, but we had a new car and this made for a safe and comfortable drive. We weren’t at all sure how life would be on the road with a one- year old boy, but he did wonderful. I sat in the backseat with him and the time we spent back there playing cars and peeky-boo forged a strong bond between us. He began calling me TeeTee on that ride, a name he still calls me by to this day.

I have learned so much by watching this little tyke grow. Every day he learns a new word, and he experiments every chance he gets. Today he put on my shoes and attempted to walk up and down the hallway, laughing the entire time. I’ve read that when a toddler tries to walk in your shoes, that he/she is giving you the highest of compliments and I was very touched.

His laughter is a constant joy to my heart. It is so healing to see him unafraid and untethered by the trauma that scarred my childhood. He can become defiant and does things sometimes just to see how far he can push those boundaries, and it almost always makes me feel joy to see him do it because I understand that he feels safe and loved.

He loves to play with his trucks and little plastic trains and I enjoy playing with him for hours as we make sounds of engines and push them as far across the floor as they will go. He squeals in absolute delight when we play like this. I laugh and laugh because of his undiluted happiness.

While I was writing this piece, my little nephew brought me a flower he picked out in our yard. His smile lit up as I thanked him with a big smile for the love he showed me. It may only be a clover, but to me it is made of gold.

Sometimes we get so caught up in life that we forget about the small pleasures that enter our lives each day. I am grateful that I have had the opportunity to fall in love with Michael. There are so many things I want to teach him as he grows about astronomy, physics and love, but for now I am content to learn from him as he shows me what joy can be found in the ordinary everyday things in life.

His birthday is Monday, and he will turn two officially. I have so much love for this little human being that I would honestly give my life for his. I love to hold him and jabber back at him when he tries to talk his baby talk to me. I wouldn’t give up the life lessons I am learning from this little tot for anything else in the world.

michael j 2 yrs old